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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

September 23, 2011


Last weekend we baptized a child in worship. A shell was taken from the wooden box and we proceeded to baptize this child with a shell from the Gulf or Atlantic shores. It’s a nice custom; an ancient custom with much symbolism. One of our Worship Board members took the time to collect the shells from Florida. Several other church members have brought back shells from their travels. We offer them up for baptizing. No dust collects on them. We use (re-use, actually) them for gently scooping water onto the heads of our children. We then give them to the family as a keepsake, offering a blessing in return.

I was talking to a Snow Bird one time and she remarked that she and her husband winter in Florida and walk the beach and pick up shells. The shells are so pretty and then they bring them home, put them in an open wicker basket and they collect dust for the next couple years. I too pick up shells. I recall on Sanibel Island how the beach itself was pulverized shells and plenty of small shells could be found and it is hard to resist picking them up and making them your own.

I have three shells from the Southern Coast of Spain on my coffee table. These were found this past winter on Sabbatical. I also have one from the Volta River in Ghana, which I picked up many years ago while swimming. It’s on my bookshelf.  On my desk is a unique shell from the River Shannon in Ireland where it meets the Atlantic. Friends recently gave it to me.

As a child, I used to look at the old, old photos of my parents, which were kept in a box in a cabinet of our home. I’d see mom as a child and grandma as a young mother. Old, faded and creased photos told me about my family’s past. Today, so many of our photos are there on hard drives and cell phones and those computerized photos often never are put on paper or are lost when the computer crashes or the cell phone is upgraded. Families won’t have boxes of old photos mildewing in closets.  My grandkids will not be seeing old photos of me from 1963 wearing my Bulldogs Little League Baseball uniform (very stylish “B” on the ball cap!).

But, we will have those shells. And those non-perishable dusty shells tell wonderful stories. In this computer-age, perhaps old seashells are the real new photos.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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